Princess Iron Fan: The Stories and Music of Cantonese Opera with Joanna C. Lee and Patrick P. Lee at MOCA on August 12

On Saturday, August 12th, join Hong Kong experts Joanna C. Lee and Patrick P. Lee at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) for Princess Iron Fan: The Stories and Music of Cantonese Opera from 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm. Tickets (include museum admission: $12/adult; $8/student & senior; Free for MOCA members. Click here to purchase tickets.

Before Hong Kong films, the most exported entertainment from southern China was Cantonese opera. Older than Peking opera, yet more open to innovation, Cantonese opera thrived not only in its home region but also in Cantonese enclaves around the world, with major stars from Hong Kong and Guangzhou (historically, Canton) regularly reaching out to their international fan base. Today, Cantonese opera still packs in the audiences in southern China, with professional troupes bolstered by an active community of amateur devotees.

Makeup application backstage, ca.1950's, MOCA Collections.
Makeup application backstage, ca.1950’s, MOCA Collections.

This session offers an introduction to Cantonese opera’s traditional stories and musical styles. Learn the difference between a role type and a tune type, between Princess Changping and Princess Iron Fan. Two of Hong Kong’s noted experts guide you through this stylized yet populist entertainment.

Patrick P. Lee is the Hong Kong-based author of two books on Cantonese musical vernacular and a third, An Introduction to Cantonese Opera Music, scheduled for release this fall. A third-generation member of a Macau literati family, he pursued university and postgraduate studies in Hong Kong in art, literature and education. Since retiring from a four-decade career in education policy, he has devoted his attention to Cantonese opera. He has performed three solo recitals at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and toured extensively in Guangzhou, Macau and Shenzhen, with periodic stage appearances in the United States, Canada and Australia. In 2010 he made his concert debut in Amsterdam with musicians from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Joanna C. Lee received degrees in piano performance from London’s Royal College of Music and musicology from New York’s Columbia University. Later joining the music faculty at the University of Hong Kong, she received a 12-month grant to document an oral history of amateur Cantonese opera singing in Hong Kong and the American and Canadian diaspora. A longtime Honorary Research Fellow for HKU’s Centre of Asian Studies (2003-11), she is also an active translator and advisor for a broad range of cultural organizations.

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Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in  Jade Magazine and

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